Riyadh "Riyadh Daily"
World Bank Chooses Saudi Arabia as Location for Knowledge Hub to Spread Culture of Economic Reforms Globally

The National Competitiveness Center and the World Bank Group jointly announced their intention to establish a knowledge hub in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during an event in Washington today. This reflects both sides’ efforts to promote economic reforms across the globe.

The Saudi Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Competitiveness Center, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi, highlighted the significant progress made by the Kingdom in global competitiveness reports and indicators. This progress is attributed to the economic reforms implemented with the support and guidance of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His Excellency, the Minister of Commerce, further emphasized that establishing the knowledge hub would facilitate enhanced regional and global cooperation in competitiveness. This initiative will enable the Kingdom to leverage its expertise in implementing economic reforms and their positive impact on enhancing competitiveness, while also benefiting from the World Bank's extensive experience spanning over 50 years.

Notable dignitaries attending the announcement included: the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the U.S., Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz; the President of the World Bank Group, Ajay Banga; and the Chief Economist of the World Bank Group and Senior Vice President for Development Economics, Dr. Intermit Gill.

The World Bank Group selected the Kingdom as the location for this knowledge hub to spread the culture of economic reforms globally, recognizing its pioneering experience over the past seven years in implementing comprehensive economic reforms. During this period, the Kingdom established an integrated business model that effectively achieved reform objectives and bolstered commitment to them. This accomplishment, among others, led the international organization to choose the Kingdom as a partner. Its experience serves as a valuable roadmap for other countries seeking to enhance their competitive capabilities.

The knowledge hub, currently in its preparatory stages, is overseen by a founding committee including the Ministries of Finance, Economy, and Planning, alongside several relevant government agencies. The initiative marks the continuous cooperation between the two sides aimed at advancing economic reforms guided by the best international business practices. Together, they are committed to furthering the journey of enhancing competitiveness and fostering sustainable economic development.

The Kingdom’s journey, including the establishment of the National Competitiveness Center in 2019 under the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, has been marked by considerable milestones. Subsequently, the establishment of subcommittees dedicated to streamlining business processes in key sectors has further propelled the nation’s progress. These efforts have facilitated the integration of over 800 reforms with relevant government agencies, ultimately culminating in the selection of Saudi Arabia as the location for this knowledge hub.

Dr. Al-Kassabi held meetings with the President of the World Bank Group and the group's senior experts on the sidelines of the announcement event. Discussions revolved around the latest initiatives spearheaded by the World Bank to streamline cross-border trade by simplifying procedures and customs regulations. Additionally, conversations centered on strategies to utilize the recommendations and insights outlined in the Bank’s reports in order to enhance the efficiency and attractiveness of the business environment in the Kingdom.

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